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Hero 187 -- 2 Year Review


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#1 secretasianman

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:28

Hello all,

I decided that after having owned the Hero 187 fountain pen for two years and getting more experience with using fountain pens, I should contribute something back to FPN, where I found a thread that convinced me to buy it in the first place. Had I read a review like this, I might have reconsidered my purchase.

A bid of background: I currently own the Hero 187, a Charcoal Lamy Safari Medium, a Jinhao Dragon's Descendant, a HaoLiLai 801F, many Pilot Varsity pens, a Reform pen (unknown model, est worth $125), and several Reform 1745 pens from JJBlanche - one of which I modified to accept Gillott 303 nibs. Basically, I own several lower tier pens and several Chinese Pens. Now that you have some context for my experience and opinions, onto the review:

Appearance and Design: 8/10
This is what drew me to the pen in the first place. I saw it listed on isellpens.com and immediately thought it was an attractive pen. The black on brown pattern was unique enough to be interesting, but subdued enough not to make me seem like a snob. Two years later, that still holds true - I still think this is quite a well designed and attractive pen from an aesthetic point of view.
IMG_0666.JPG

Weight and Ergonomics: 6/10
Capped, the pen feel quite hefty. Uncapped, the pen feels quite light and comfortable. I could write all day with it unposted, but the pen is too unbalanced to use when posted, in my opinion. I consider the Lamy Safari and Reform 1745 to be ideally balanced when posted.

The pen also has a band just above the nib and below the section that traps ink that seeps in from the feed (or while I'm filling the pen). If I'm not careful, the band leaves an ink stain on my middle finger - poor ergonomic design. The HaoLiLai 801F and Dragon's Descendant also have this unfortunate feature.
IMG_0677.JPG

Filling System: 5/10
The Hero 187 comes with a proprietary squeeze fill converter.. I don't like that I can't see how much ink is remaining, and I think that it is narrow enough that it traps ink in the wrong side of the converter, thus prematurely drying out my pen. I replaced it with a short international piston converter - the long converter and the proprietary Hero piston don't fit it.

The Nib: 8/10
IMG_0678B.jpg

Durability: 3/10
Poor. The ink chipped away where I used to post the pen, and started to chip away from the cap. I guess I should have kept it on my desk instead of my jeans pocket.
IMG_0668.JPG

The metal component that keeps the section attached to the barrel became unstuck to the barrel. Krazy Glue didn't work to keep it attached, so I'll have to try another kind of adhesive to repair it.
IMG_0671.JPG

Conclusion:
While the nib is quite nice and the pen itself is pretty, it is certainly not built to last. I'm disappointed that it started to fall apart already, especially because I bought this, my first fountain pen, under the impression that pens are supposed to last a lifetime. I guess this pen lives up to the unfortunate stereotype of shoddy Chinese pens. Nonetheless, all I usually have to do is push the metal section back into the barrel and retighten the section-barrel threads. I'm now curious about the QC and durability on the Hero 100 Stainless, as I have been eying that as of late for a plain workhorse pen.

Would I buy the Hero 187 again knowing what I know now? No. The HaoLiLai 801 F is nearly as flexible, and more tightly manufactured. I've also discovered that dip pens give the best flex, and I rather like my Reform 1745/Gillott 303 Frankenpen combo. The 187 model that I received was well made for the short term, but lacking in durability. The nib, while smooth, does not provide the line variation that I had hoped for unless I write with an uncomfortable amount of pressure.

What will I do with the pen now? I won't throw it out, that's for sure. I will probably use up what ink I have in it, and consign it to my desk drawer until the day I get curious as to why its been so long since I put this pen into my rotation....

Edited by MYU, 11 April 2009 - 23:52.


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#2 RayMan

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:42

Thanks for your review. It's not very often that we get a long term review of a pen.
Regards,

Ray

#3 Ondina

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:54

I concur with RayMan, long term reviews are much more accurate and useful, as well as unusual here. Thank you.

#4 gary

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 13:12

The long term review is an excellent idea. But...
I'm not sure how many pens would survive being kept in jean pockets without damage, so I don't think the pen did too poorly at all.
gary

#5 MYU

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 23:57

Thanks for your contribution. It confirms my suspicions about the average Chinese pen... that they are not necessarily made for the long haul and will suffer some appreciable wear in a few years with regular use. That is, unless they're are cared for as if they were more expensive. Few fountain pens survive being stowed in pants pockets, aside from the tough steel Pilot short pens.

[MYU's Pen Review Corner]   |   "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small


#6 secretasianman

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 15:36

QUOTE (MYU @ Apr 11 2009, 07:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for your contribution. It confirms my suspicions about the average Chinese pen... that they are not necessarily made for the long haul and will suffer some appreciable wear in a few years with regular use. That is, unless they're are cared for as if they were more expensive. Few fountain pens survive being stowed in pants pockets, aside from the tough steel Pilot short pens.


This was early in my fountain pen experience. I found it too heavy to be clipped to a shirt pocket or collar, and too inconvenient to leave it in my backpack. It was my pocket pen for 10 months, sharing space with a Safari. The paint definitely started chipping, but that metal piece was solid. I then decided I should probably just have a Safari and ballpoint in my pocket. Live and learn...

In retrospect, the durability rating should be a bit higher. The nib and feed still work as well as Day 1, and if I treated this more gently, the metal piece would probably have lasted years longer.

I am however, disappointed by the paint chipping. Is this normal to expect? I've stopped posting my other pens because I want to keep them relatively pristine.

Edited by secretasianman, 13 April 2009 - 15:43.


#7 Frank_Federalist_Pens

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 16:04

I also have this pen, and have had it for a good two years as well.
While I do experience the ink trapping in the section band that you mentioned from time to time, I have no other complaints. I learned about this problem early on, so I try not to stick the pen too far in the bottle. I also clean that part of the pen more thoroughly.

Sorry to hear about the pattern wear. This is a great part of this pen
(It's known as a "cigar pen"). I do not post pens, so this problem never came up.
I like it as well, because it does not remind you of any Parker pens!

Speaking of that, in case you did not know, this pen takes Parker carts!

Frank

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#8 richardandtracy

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:24

Thanks for the long term review, it's useful to see.

As for sticking the threaded section back into the barrel: rub the outside of the threaded insert with a scouring pad, than do the same to the inside of the barrel. Degrease with washing up liquid (don't touch afterwards), dry thoroughly, then smear with epoxy adhesive, fit and leave for 24 hours (even if it's rapid epoxy). That procedure should stick it back in better than new.

Regards,

Richard.


#9 1937w

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 15:13

My experience with "Chinese" pens is: they're cheap, write well for a brief period then fall apart. They are no bargain considering that you can have a Pilot Petit for about $4-$5. These are durable and write beautifully. They take a slightly shorter version of the Pilot cart that is easily refilled with an eyedropper.

#10 winknut

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 21:06

I can't help but chime in on a Hero review. Perhaps, even, my experience will be useful to those who are leary of the "cheaply made chinese pens."

first things first, some premises that I start with:

1.The middle to low end of the Hero line are not meant to be lifetime collector pieces, they are meant to be utilitarian daily writers.

2. In many cases you get what you pay for, and in most cases you don't get what you don't pay for.

I have a wide variety of Hero pens that I have picked up over the years and I love them... for what they are...

I have two classes of pens that I use: pens that I cherish as part of the family (my Lamy 2000, my monogrammed Cross Century (that I received for my 12th birthday), a Parker Vector that joined the army with me and has been to every continent except Antarctica etc....), the other class of pens are the ones with no real emotional attachment so if some one walks off with one at work or gets contaminated or stepped on no real loss: true utility pens.

I put my Heroes in the latter class. i have more to say about this but have to leave work now....

#11 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 18:22

Very detailed review!

As a huge fan of the cheaper Hero pens (616, 366, etc) I'm curious about the price of this particular pen.

The cheapies are what they are: you pay about $3-5 per, they hold a lot of ink, lay down a smooth fine line, and are good for experimenting with lots of different inks.

#12 Gran

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 18:32

Thank you for the long-term-use review. An excellent idea.
May you have pens you enjoy, with plenty of paper and ink. :)

Please use only my FPN name "Gran" in your posts. Thanks very much!

#13 cinnabardk

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 18:31

Hello Secretasianman,

How did you make a Reform 1745/Gillott 303 Frankenpen combo?

I would very much like a flexible fountain pen. And I have just ordered a Reform 1745, along with a Gillot 303.

Kind regards,
Allan,
Denmark

#14 secretasianman

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:07

Hello Secretasianman,

How did you make a Reform 1745/Gillott 303 Frankenpen combo?

I would very much like a flexible fountain pen. And I have just ordered a Reform 1745, along with a Gillot 303.

Kind regards,
Allan,
Denmark


Hi,

Sorry it has been so long for a response. I left FPN a while ago, and have only just gotten back.

You can search here or on Google "Super Flexy Frankenpen Experiment", which is the topic I have that deals with this. It turns out that what I thought was a 1745 pen in that thread is actually another larger Reform Pen, but the principles are the same. Just cut off more metal than I said earlier.


-S.A.M

PS: Nevermind about the search, here is the thread: http://www.fountainp...pic=81578&st=15

Edited by secretasianman, 09 October 2009 - 02:19.


#15 Bearcat

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:12

The long term review is an excellent idea. But...
I'm not sure how many pens would survive being kept in jean pockets without damage, so I don't think the pen did too poorly at all.
gary



I have to agree. It looks like this pen did very well surviving the "torture testing" of being carried in your jeans pocket. As you note, the nibs on these are incredibly smooth....The one I tried writes better than a $600 MB 149........These are great pens for the money and with reasonable care will last a very long time.


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